Lifting weights can do wonders for your physique. It's also a great way to boost your metabolism and help you maintain your weight. But whether you're training for a body building competition or just wanting to lose a few inches around your waist, there's a part of your body that you really need to watch out for: your back.
Weight lifting can really take a toll on your back if you don't lift properly and take measures to keep your back supple and strong. Here are three ways to be better to your back as a lifter.
Watch your form in the mirror.
It's all too easy to think that you're lifting with proper form, only to see yourself and realize you're lifting crookedly or over-extending a certain joint. One of the most common areas to take the brunt of the damage when you lift improperly is your back. You may engage your back muscles more evenly, pulling your spine out of alignment or resulting in a strained muscle. If you lift in front of a mirror, you'll catch these form mistakes before they go on for too long, reducing your risk of back damage.
Do back-strengthening exercises.
Even if your primary goal is to build bigger biceps or strengthen your legs, you need to incorporate some back-strengthening exercises into your routine. This way, your back will be better prepared to handle the challenges presented when you do lift with not-so-perfect form or perform exercises that engage your back muscles in addition to the primary muscles you're targeting. Some good back-strengthening exercises to consider include:
Kneeling extensions (Kneeling on all fours and extending your arm and opposite leg, holding the position for 10 seconds.)
Lat pull-downs (Use the lat pulldown machine at your gym.)
Planks (These strengthen your core and back. Hold the "up" pushup position for 30 - 60 seconds at a time.)
Visit the chiropractor.
If your spine is not properly aligned, you are at an even higher risk of damaging it during your workouts. Visit your chiropractor, like Hidden Valley Chiropractic, about once a month; he or she can adjust your spine before any misalignments become too severe. If your back is feeling sore or tired after your workouts, your chiropractor can also help you determine where you are going wrong and may even be able to recommend some specific exercises to target the areas that are weak.
You need your back to walk, jump, and lift. Make sure you're caring for it properly when weight lifting is a part of your regular routine.